Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra
About the Alhambra by Owen Jones
This publication is the most remarkable, colorful, and accurate study of the Alhambra, an ornate palace in Spain constructed between 1238 and 1358 by the Moorish ruler Al Ahmar and his successors. Owen Jones, the well-known British architect, designer, and theorist, initially encountered Islamic patterns and architecture during his travels to Greece, Turkey, the Holy Land, and Egypt in the 1830s. He shared his new found interest with Jules Goury, a young French architect. On a visit to the Alhambra in 1834, the two men decided to conduct an exhaustive study that would accurately illustrate the intricate geometric patterns and shapes of the palace’s decorative ornaments. Goury died in 1834 of cholera, but Jones persevered with the study as a tribute to Goury. The illustrations in these elaborate volumes, dated 1836, are the earliest examples of color lithography in England.
The first folio (1842) contains hundreds of illustrations, translations of Arabic script, rendered in the angular Kufic style on the building, and an essay on the palace by Pascual de Gayangos, a scholar of Spanish Arab civilization. The second volume, with fifty chromolithographic images of decorative fragments, was created to supply designers, ornamentalists, and manufacturers with ornamental details to study and copy. This publication engendered enormous popular enthusiasm for the Islamic style, and European and American designers eagerly copied its illustrations. The book ultimately established Jones as a leading authority on ornament.
The full title reads as follows: Plans, elevations, sections, and details of the Alhambra, from drawings taken on the spot in 1834 by Jules Goury, and in 1834 and 1837 by Owen Jones. With a complete translation of the Arabic inscriptions, and an historical notice of the kings of Granada from the conquest of that city by the Arabs to the expulsion of the Moors, by Pasqual de Gayangos.
--Jennifer Bracchi 2011